KEFIR

image040Originating in the mountainous region of Russia it was a process used to preserve milk and its consumption is thought to have contributed to the longevity of its people. It’s sort of like keeping Goldfish. You have to tend to them every couple of days or they may die! The final product ‘kefir’ can be bought from health food stores. Worth giving it a taste before you embark on raising your own.

SO WHAT IS KEFIR? Kefir is a fermented drink that is made through the action of bacterial and yeast microorganism on milk. It is made by adding ‘kefir grains’ (starter culture) to milk (they look a little like cauliflower florets). When the grains are added to milk, the grains shed and the microorganisms inoculate the milk. The grains keep growing while fermenting and these are used for subsequent fermentations.

KEFIR VS YOGHURT

Both Kefir and Yoghurt are cultured milk products however they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yoghurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for friendly bacteria to reside in. However kefir colonises the intestinal tract, which yoghurt does not do.

Kefir also contains strains of bacteria that yoghurt doesn’t have e.g. Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, and remove pathogens and strengthen the intestines. Therefore, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E.coli and intestinal parasites. Kefir has been used through history to treat a range of health conditions.

KEEPING TUCKSHOP ARMS AT BAY

image036It’s easy to hide upper arms in winter but in a couple of months, when the sun starts to shine, we’re going to have to expose those wiggly, jiggly arms that are starting to look like ham hocks! So what’s the best exercise to keep them in shape? A study at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse compared different exercises searching for the most effective. The best one was the TRIANGLE PUSH UP or also known as the DIAMOND PUSH UP. You start with the plank position (knees on floor for novices) suck in your abdominals, tighten your glutes (butt) and place your hands on the floor with your thumbs touching and your forefingers touching – essentially forming a triangle (or diamond). Lower and raise your body, with your arms, keeping your back straight (don’t let it sag) and abdominals engaged. Start with one set (8-12) reps every second day for the first week, then increase to 3 sets. If you get really good then straighten your legs and keep your knees off the floor. Here’s to Spring and showing those arms!

LET THE AIR OUT OF THAT SPARE TYRE!

image038What tyre? The tyre around your mid-section, the one that seems to increase with age. But how? Well there are a number of reasons that you can develop a tyre around your mid-section – hormones, diet, exercise etc. and this needs further examining by a health professional. But ONE of the reasons that prompts your body to store fat around your mid-section is STRESS. Studies show that cortisol the ‘stress hormone’ promotes the body to pad your waistline, this is because the fat cells in this area have more receptors for cortisol than any other cells in the human body. So what’s the answer – well ‘Stress Less’ but how? Well I am not about to tell you how to STRESS LESS as we all have different ways to unwind. But here’s a few things you can do to cut down on ‘CORTISOL ELEVATORS’. Cut back on alcohol and stimulants such as coffee. Get enough sleep but most importantly practice DEEP BREATHING. Not only does deep breathing reduce stress (cortisol levels) but one study showed that those that practiced deep breathing burned more calories than riding an exercise bike! You can do this anywhere, at your desk, in the car, on your way to work or while watching TV – so no excuses. Practice 3-4 times a day.

  1. Breathe in, through the nose, for 4 seconds (counting in your head).
  2. Hold the breath for 6 seconds (count in your head again)
  3. Using your whole body, exhale strongly, through the mouth for 8 seconds. (Even though you may blow out the air in your lungs quicker but try to dig deep and keep exhaling!)

GIVE BUCKWHEAT A GO

image032While the name implies it is a ‘wheat’, it in fact is far from it, it’s not even a grain. It is a seed from a plant related to rhubarb. Here are some of its health benefits….

  • Low in GI with a rating of 50 (unlike rice, corn and wheat). GI Ratings: White rice 58, Brown rice 68, Wheat 60, Corn 68.
  • Packs a protein punch. 100g buckwheat has 12g of protein. 100g rice has 6g of protein.
  • It is rich in potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, zinc and manganese.
  • A good source of fibre. 10g Fibre per 100g.
  • Antioxidant rich, with Rutin (bioflavonoid) which is great for heart health as it has lipid-lowering activity.
  • If you’re a Celiac, it’s gluten free. But be careful to look at products labelled ‘buckwheat’ such as SOBA, as often they also contain wheat flour. 

HOW TO ENJOY

  • Add to soups and stews as you would lentils and beans.
  • Cook the groats, and toss through salads, or roast vegetables.
  • Use the groats to make buckwheat flour & substitute it for wheat flour in baked goods.
  • For a change, instead of porridge (oats) cook the groats add a little cinnamon & honey and enjoy a warm breakfast.
  • Can be sprouted. Take a look at our ‘HOW to SPROUT
  • Can be added to the GOJI BERRY SLICE

DON’T LET THE WINTER KILO’S CREEP ON

image034When it’s cold outside, all you feel like doing (if you’re like me) is having a warm shower and getting into your PJ’s at 6pm, eating a BIG hearty hot dinner and then hitting the sack. While that’s good for the soul, it’s a time of year that those kilo’s creep on as they are hidden under all those layers of thick woolly clothes. Here are a few simple tips to keep your weight in a manageable range over the winter…. 

  • Weigh yourself once a week. Studies reveal that individuals that are aware of their weight i.e. ‘self-regulation’ and record their weight, have better success in losing and managing their ‘desired’ weight.
  • Drink more water and herbal teas. In winter we tend not to drink as much water and confuse our ‘thirst’ with ‘hunger’ and eat more.
  • Eat slowly. We’re cold, we’re hungry so we scoff our food like a crazed animal! Slow down. Put your knife, fork, and spoon down between mouthfuls. Eating slowly gives your brain time to receive the message its full (20 mins) and therefore we eat less.
  • Exercise. It only takes 4 minutes and only have to do it every second day (see DO TABATA). It’ll also heat you up making you warmer all night! You can’t use the ‘rain’ and ‘cold’ as an excuse as you can jog on the spot, or do star jumps, while watching your favourite program on TV.

DON’T GIVE UP ON GLUTEN

image030Gluten has been getting a bad rap for some time now. What is Gluten? It is basically two proteins (gliadin and glutenin) present in wheat and other cereal grains, such as barley and rye. Gluten gives dough its sticky elastic texture.

So what’s the problem? Well, if you have an abnormal immune response to the breakdown of these two proteins you can suffer from Celiac disease. But if you don’t, should you be going for Gluten free alternatives? Through extensive research on the subject, my conclusion is that Gluten itself is not the issue but rather comes from two distinctly different sources.

ONE: the modern, Western-style diet contains a much larger proportion of processed foods, which are notorious for the amount of gluten they contain. Gluten is now used in salad dressings, soy sauce, soups, beer, pasta, biscuits, crackers, condiments etc. the list goes on. So, rather than consuming 1 unit of gluten a day, or every few days, we are downing 10x that amount or more – and doing it daily. Essentially, our digestive systems are being overloaded with a substance that only occurs in small amounts in nature- and should thus be consumed accordingly.

TWO: Roundup (Glyphosate) in Australia, and many countries around the world, is registered for use as a harvest aid and for weed control in wheat crops. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology examined the link of glyphosate to autoimmune disease. It showed a steady increase in Celiac disease with the increased use of glyphosate being sprayed on crops. It is believed that the toxic overload from substances such as glyphosates may be responsible disrupting how our beneficial intestinal bacteria function and thus cause the digestive symptoms that many individuals experience.

So what do I do? Well I’ll tell you what I do. I eat 90% unprocessed foods. I enjoy organic wholemeal pasta from time to time. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

DO TABATA

image028Following up from our Day 12 Health tip “STAND UP AND MOVE” now it’s time to MOVE some more. You’ve heard it before I know…”Exercise is good for aerobic fitness, mental health (endorphins), weight loss, gives skin a natural glow etc. etc.” but how many of you regularly exercise?? (Feel free to comment).

The most common excuse I hear from clients is…”I have no time to exercise”. Well sorry folks, you can no longer use that as an excuse because TABATA will only take you 4 mins (actually only 2 mins & 40 secs of intense exercise). TABATA (by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata in 1996) is HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT). Australian Family Physician (Dec 2012) published a finding that revealed High intensity interval training (Tabata) resulted in a significant reduction in subcutaneous fat, chiefly abdominal fat. So, if you want an exercise that is quick to do, you can do anywhere, will improve aerobic & anaerobic capacity and help you lose that visceral layer of fat then you need to do this.

As a beginner, perform the intense exercise intervals at a moderate intensity and gradually increase to a high-intensity level. You can jog on the spot, go up and down stairs, sprint, skip rope, do star jumps – whatever you like. Remember to do a five-minute cool-down at the end of your workout – short leisurely walk around the block. Allow 2 days in-between Tabata sessions. Download the TABATA TIMER APP. for your mobile (Free) and start today (no excuses).

CAUTION: If you are new to exercise or have a health condition, then you should consult with a health professional as you may require specific assessment or instruction before commencing a HIIT (Tabata) program.

ARE YOU GRATEFUL?

image026Research indicates that individuals that are grateful “may also experience more frequent pleasant events because they are more likely to appreciate simple pleasures” (Watkins, 2014). Other studies indicate that being grateful leads to positive emotions that then create UPWARD SPIRALS. Another study revealed that a romantic relationship has a better chance of survival and increased connectedness when you are grateful (about that relationship) every day. So what does it take to BE GRATEFUL? Well you don’t need to make a grateful board or anything like that. Just take the time every day, either on your way to or from work, to be grateful about ONE thing.  A roof over your head?  Food to eat? Friends to laugh with? (lots of people don’t even have these). Anyway I’m sure you can find something to be GRATEFUL for! Let’s get the ball rolling and write one here!

PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT

image024Switch from table salt to PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT. Table Salt and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt are essentially both sodium chloride (salt) but the difference is in the processing and the additives. Table salt contains ‘free flowing agent’ or ‘anti-caking agent’ (554) which isSodium Aluminosilicate. This has been linked to Alzheimer’s, kidney damage, neurotoxicity and food intolerances. Table salt is also chemically cleaned and in some cases, bleached.

PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT on the other hand is raw and unrefined. It is sourced from the Himalayan Mountains and is a rich source of trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, bromide, borate, strontium and sulphate (just to name a few). Please be aware that it is still SALT and as such should be used sparingly.

FLOSS TEETH DAILY

image022Did you know that flossing teeth daily reduces periodontal disease, a bacterial infection that involves an inflammatory processes. Many people believe that flossing is to get rid of food between teeth but its real purpose is to get rid of plaque. Plaque is a bacterial film that forms between the gum line and the teeth. Everyone gets plaque, and the only way it can be removed is by flossing or a deep clean from the dentist. Every chew of food can push endotoxins into our system, increasing inflammation, so to keep oral bacterial levels low, prevents gum disease and tooth loss – FLOSS TEETH DAILY.